About ACA of Texas
The American Collectors Association of Texas is the second largest State Unit within ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, and the primary trade association for members of the credit and collection industry. Comprised of approximately 180 member agencies, ACA of Texas actively supports its members through educational programs, legislative activities and the sharing of information among its members.
Advocating for the Industry ACA of Texas, along with ACA International, contributes to the success of our members, enhances the positive reputation of the industry, and improves the health of the economy by:
- Being the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for the credit and collection industry;
- Clarifying the rights and responsibilities of all participants in the credit and collection cycle;
- Enhancing the knowledge and skills of credit and collection professionals across the state of Texas;
- Demanding the highest degree of ethical practices and conduct;
- Advocating effectively in critical legislative, regulatory and business arenas;
- Offering services and products to improve member performance; and
- Promoting the importance, value and integrity of the industry.
The Association recently concluded its 64th Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio this past September where we had total attendance of over 120 registered attendees. The Exhibition was well attended by 34 Exhibitor companies presenting information regarding a variety of products and services that support the credit and collections industry. Among our many activities, we held seminars covering Compliance, Merger & Aquisition activity, employment law and workplace violence. We heard from an attorney who provided a "Litigation Update" and we also had a panel of attorneys who answered questions from the attendees 0n a variety of topics. To help our members stay current on regulatory and business developments, as well as industry professional practices, ACA International provides more than 130 educational and training workshops to its members each year, with nearly 1,000 industry professionals completing ACA’s collector credentialing program annually.
Benefiting the Local and National Economy Our members are primarily small, private companies. While the average collection agency in Texas has 45 employees, more than half of our members employ less than 15 people. In total, our member agencies employ over 8,100 people (at an average annual salary of $33,000 each) and have a combined payroll of more than $27 million. ACA of Texas members are based in 52 separate cities and towns across Texas; from the Panhandle to Harlingen and from El Paso to the Piney Woods of East Texas, and many points in between. Our members collect delinquent and charged off accounts for a wide variety of local, state-wide and even national companies. As an industry, ACA International member agencies returned $40.4 billion to our business clients and to the American economy in 2007. This represents a 20.9 % reduction in private-sector bad debt in 2007. It is estimated that the collection industry saves the average American household $354 per year. This is money consumers would have spent if businesses raised their prices to cover losses to bad debt. (Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Value of Third-Party Debt Collection to the U.S. Economy in 2007: Survey and Analysis, June 12, 2008)
Serving Businesses of Every Kind Virtually any business that extends credit or carries outstanding debt enlists the support of collection agencies, including:
- Financial Services: credit unions, banks, credit card lenders, retailers;
- Healthcare: hospitals, physician groups, dentists, chiropractors, veterinarians;
- Government: states, counties, municipalities, federal student loans, federal small business loans, child support enforcement agencies; and
- Telecommunications & Utilities: wireless phone carriers, cable companies, gas utilities, electric companies, water utilities.
Promoting Security and Compliance In this age of identity theft, security concerns and compliance, ACA of Texas member collection agencies use a variety of cutting-edge technologies to serve their clients efficiently and provide greater responsiveness to the consumers they contact, including:
- The latest encryption technology and strict company policies to ensure data security and consumer privacy;
- Modern collection software to manage workflow, post payments quickly, and accurately track any special concerns raised by a consumer in order to promote fair resolution;
- Predictive dialers ensuring compliance with the calling hours prescribed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and various state statutes in the states where our members collect accounts.
Educating Consumers ACA of Texas actively promotes financial literacy and personal responsibility through its not-for-profit Educational Foundation. Each year the Educational Foundation conducts an essay contest for high school seniors on some aspect of financial literacy or personal financial responsibility. The winning authors are awarded college scholarships. This year, the Foundation awarded two $1,000 scholarships to students attending college in Texas.
ACA International, through its philanthropic arm, the ACA International Education Foundation, strives to educate the public and dispel myths about the credit and collection industry by offering an array of educational materials designed to educate consumers about personal finance and general information concerning laws governing the credit and collection industry. See their web site at www.askdoctordebt.com where consumers can find answers to common questions.
The Collector’s Pledge is an ACA initiative encouraging collectors to make a voluntary, personal commitment to treat customers with dignity and respect in every aspect of their work. it is a reflection of ACA member values and professional practices. This ACA International initiative encourages collectors to make a voluntary, personal commitment to treat customers with dignity and respect in every aspect of their work.
We are a Highly Regulated Industry The third-party debt collection industry is highly regulated by a broad assortment of both federal and state laws and regulations that provide comprehensive consumer protections to the public. The primary regulator for our industry is the Federal Trade Commission. Among the many laws that govern our businesses, are the following:
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- Texas Debt Collection Practices Act
Consumer Protection and Assistance Our members and our Association work in concert with various state agencies and other entities to ensure that consumers are protected and made aware of their rights under the various statutes. Examples of such organizations include:
- The Texas Attorney General’s office
- The Consumer Credit Commission
- Various Better Business Bureaus across the state
A Consumer Hotline service is offered to anyone who has questions or complaints regarding collection techniques, state and federal laws governing our industry or consumer rights.
For more information on ACA of Texas, please contact Tom Morgan, our Executive Director, at (512) 458-8666 or via email.